An Army veteran and former San Diego resident is hoping to help protect others from the deadly coronavirus by taking part in a malaria drug clinical trial.
Yvette Paz went from living an active lifestyle in Huntington Beach to stuck in bed, miserably sick. She began video blogging as soon as she started feeling symptoms.
“My blood cells are probably losing their mind right now,” Paz told her camera in one of her video blogs. “I’m sure there’s a war going on inside my body.
Her symptoms came on around March 9 and she was diagnosed with COVID-19 March 16.
She was isolated at and admitted to a Long Beach hospital after starting to suffer pneumonia complications. She posted several pictures of herself wearing a facemask around her home.
"There has been lung damage caused and it was very painful,” she told NBC 7 in an online interview. “There were two different moments there where I actually was unable to breathe and it scared me."
That fear and a dangerously-low white blood cell count prompted her, under a doctor’s supervision, to take part in the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug.
"It was a little scary as you can imagine, but at that point, I mean, I was feeling so bad that I was ready to do it. But more so, I felt like if my experience came out positive, I mean I could potentially be helping and being part of this process to save millions of people,” she said.
Paz finished the five-day trial on Tuesday and is feeling better. The question now, is how much of Paz’s recovery was due to the antimalaria drug? Paz said she’s waiting on a secondary checkup.
Though still easily winded, the veteran is fighting to get back to normal after suffering lung damage battling the disease.
“I mean, it's something that has come with it, but I’d rather live with a little bit of damage, live out the rest of my life than, you know, not have a life at all.”
Paz said she doesn’t know how she contracted the virus, but noted she was recently at two large-scale events in L.A. County.
She said all the family and friends she’s come in contact with have tested negative.